Deploying infrastructure-as-a service? Take it slow, report says

Forrester report: IaaS can also be deceptively simple and organizations should proceed slowly with its implementation,

Of the three major cloud computing categories, infrastructure-as-a service is probably the most adaptable to meet a wide range of business and application scenarios. However, IaaS can also be deceptively simple and organizations should proceed slowly with its implementation, according to a new report by analysts at Forrester, a market research and consulting firm.

In the report, “Taking The Fog Out Of Cloud Computing: Infrastructure-as-a-Service,” Randy Heffner and other Forrester analysts offer advice to help enterprise architects decide when, where and how IaaS can provide the best business value for their organizations.


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IaaS provides a platform for organizations to use or provision computing resources such as virtual servers only when they need them and pay for that use with a credit card. The popular example in the government arena is the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Rapid Access Computing Environment.

The other two cloud computing delivery models include software as a service and platform as a service. SaaS by definition refers to the delivery of a particular application and PaaS provides diverse development platforms that may be better for one kind of application than another, the report states.

However, “IaaS provides generic computing, storage and network capacity on which you can build and deploy most any kind of application,” the report states. IaaS can be used for new applications or IT architects can port many existing applications to run on IaaS, although this might take some substantial effort for some applications.

IaaS is not right for every situation — a wide range of considerations affect IaaS costs and benefits, according to the report. IaaS brings a whole world with it including the world of the IaaS provider’s technical environment, pricing models, operating characteristics, and financial stability.

“Each of these is more complex than its equivalent in a traditional infrastructure alternative and has potential hidden considerations and requirements,” the report states. As a result, Forrester’s initial recommendation is that architects take it slowly in analyzing and recommending where and when to use IaaS.

Forrester recommends a seven-stage process that will help architects create and evolve an IaaS implementation strategy.

  1. Catalog major considerations of business dynamics.
  2. Catalog major considerations for quality of service.
  3. Develop tentative IaaS positioning..
  4. Create an IaaS prototype/pilot plan.
  5. Deliver and refine initial IaaS opportunities.
  6. Finalize infrastructure strategy.
  7. Review and update infrastructure strategy.

These stages can be performed in either a comprehensive manner – cataloging all the options and requirements at each stage – or a targeted manner – running a single scenario through the seven stages, the report states.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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